I think that self-confidence is hard to define because it’s a feeling and a feeling that is unique to the individual. You will know when you feel confident and when you don’t. You may also feel confident in some areas of your life and not in others.
The best way to look at confidence is to look at fear, uncertainty and doubt and self-worth and understand how each of these affects our ability to feel confident about who we are, what we do and how we show up.
We all have knowledge, skills and experiences that are stashed away in our inner resources container. But something, sometimes stops us trusting and believing that we have the right to access and use them.
What probably happens is that you take something on or are asked to do something and all of a sudden, self-doubt creeps in, and you start asking, can I do this? Or your inner critic will pop up and say if only I have enough confidence or some other quality to do this.
Confidence has a lot to do with liking who you are, in fact, I’d say it’s deeper than that it’s about self-love and acceptance.
I always ask what the worst thing that could happen when you try something new or scary is? I decide that I am going to give something a go because the best thing that could happen is that I learn something new about me and I get feedback on the thing that I have just tried.
When things feel hopeless, it seems that this is all we have, however, if we stopped for a moment and asked what do I have, you will see that you have some great foundations to build on.
I’m never surprised that I have confidence in some areas and little confidence in other areas. I’m also never surprised that no matter where I am on the confidence scale, I can become derailed and find myself wondering how I got myself into a hole.
It’s at times like these that I pick myself up and remind myself that the people around me do not define me and what they do or say is a reflection of them and their life. Although in the moment I can feel pretty awful. This is where my journal supports me. When I write about how I feel, things start to make sense. I pick myself up by my boots, look at what’s happened, take on board the feelings and learning and do something about it.
I have this great exercise called the circle of confidence. My invitation is for you to try it. It’s about stepping into confidence and then being able to use all of the resources to do whatever it is you need to.
Confidence sits in the solar plexus alongside assertiveness, personal power and your identity. When you work on the solar plexus and these things, you will find that you become more confident in many areas of your life.
No matter who defines what confidence is, it will be unique to you, and it’s worth keeping a note of where you feel confident and where it desserts you.
Confidence and courage go hand in hand, and together they will support you to not give in. It is important to know what being scared or fearful feels or looks like, acknowledging it exists and equally important to not submit to it – being courageous. Doing something new can be a little scary – have faith, that all will be good and as it should be and call on your positive mindset – being confident.
Trust yourself, and trust in yourself, so that others can trust you. It is also feeling certain that you can and if you can’t, certain that you will find a way. I love people who just say yes (in the right circumstances) and then work out how.
Confidence is also believing and knowing that you are your best resource and asset. Confidence is acknowledging that you are scared, but trusting, believing and being certain about what you ‘put out there’ is great stuff.
Look around you, who do you see, think, sense or know is confident? How do you know? Have you spoken with them, read their blog, heard great things from others? Are they quietly confident or incredibly charismatic or somewhere in-between? You can learn a lot from watching and noticing other people. Ask yourself right now, what does confidence mean to you?
Remember to try this stepping into confidence exercise – rather than repeat it – head to the blog. Try it out and let me know how you got on.
Today, I was journaling and thinking back through ‘stuff’ I’d been through as my eye caught a picture of one of my dogs. Ferdy left me to go to the great field in the sky last year and I literally broke my heart – as you do.
It was while I was looking at the picture my mum had painted that I recalled walking him one day and finding myself struggling to breathe. It had seemed odd at the time as I walked him at least 3 times a day and up and down many hills.
I’d sat in front of the doctor as he told me, after patiently listening to my story, that I had anxiety. Firstly, and silly me, I didn’t know what that was and I couldn’t see how I could possibly be anxious.
He prescribed me Prozac. I was shocked. But I figured that I needed space to breathe and to slow it down so that I could work out what was going on.
And ever practical I created an exit strategy.
Firstly I changed my diet, took the pills, journaled and became a curious observer of my life.
And sure enough I had to admit things had got a little out of control.
Bit by bit I found myself again. Followed my exit strategy, as it turned out a tad too soon – that’s a story for another day – and did feel better for a while.
The trouble was I was living with the problem.
I discovered in my exploration to understand this thing, that anxiety goes much deeper than stress and is more internalised. It may not have an obvious cause or trigger. Anxiety is typically characterised by a persistent feeling of apprehension or dread. Unlike stress, anxiety, persists and niggles.
While many people feel anxious from time to time, it’s when the anxious feelings don’t go away, seem to happen without any particular reason or make it hard to cope with daily life it may be the sign of an anxiety condition.
Just for a moment stop and ask yourself what the last two weeks have been like. Have you felt any of these?
If you have – score 1 for every yes:
What would you add?
Add up your score. If you have more than 4, you probably have some level of anxiety.
What do you learn about yourself when you look at your score? Was it hard to admit or did you feel relieved that you could see a pattern to your feelings?
Write down anytime you feel anxious during the next 21 days. You can start now in your journal – write down any feelings of anxiety you are having today – use the list above to guide you.
What’s interesting is that you may not have noticed any of these, instead I would invite you to think about what you were eating or drinking.
Because your diet can have an effect on your mood.
One way to understand this is to keep a food, energy, mood and sleep journal.
In your journal ask what is coming up that you feel anxious about – choose something small.
Write about how you would like this event to turn out. Imagine it’s 15 minutes after you have successfully completed whatever it is. How do you feel, see, hear? What did you do to make it successful?
Now apply this simple journaling technique to other things that are coming up. What do you notice when you do this?
Chances are this will soothe 95% of the things that are coming up.
From here – when you wake up choose a word for your day that will take you into a good place. Check this out.
Did you know that from a young age I have been fascinated by nutrition? I took my first course in my late twenties and then studied naturopathic nutrition in 2016. I completed the course, did a couple of case studies and one assignment. I got an A+. I’m proud of that.
But I had a few defining moments which made me realise that this was not the life for me.
Again in my twenties, I coached a few friends with their eating. One gave up pop (fizzy drinks) and drank water instead, but could not control the rest of her eating. Another just ate constantly.
I was perplexed, surely they would want to be healthy? I did. It came easy. Feel rubbish, eat better, feel well. I soon discovered that for many people, this eating malarkey was not really about eating; it goes much deeper. Of course, it does…
When I was told I had an overactive thyroid, the doctor and I were perplexed because I felt fine. He was concerned as I had virtually no TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). Six weeks later, after changing my diet, some energy work and lots of visualisation, I went back and was healed.
Later in 2018, when my spine fractured, I applied the same rules, find the root cause, eat to heal and use all of the other things in my toolkit to get well.
Both of these things required me to change some habits. I am bloody-minded, which helps. I was not going to be a statistic, and take awful drugs, I was going to heal naturally.
The key is – I had something I wanted – desperately – better health and I would stop at nothing to get it.
How often do you have something you want, but find that it is elusive, for some reason?
I had a powerful question – do I love myself enough to…?
The answer is always yes. When you find yourself in any pickle, in any area of your life and you HAVE to change, that is always my first question.
But it’s not always easy.
I can remember the doctor many years ago telling me I had anxiety. It had crept up on me to the point that despite walking my dog 2-3 times a day, I could hardly breathe.
I needed an interrupt—a way of changing some of the things I was doing. But where to start? Which thing needed to change first?
When you get into a slide and eat the first slice of cake, it’s super easy to eat the next and the next, until you feel sick. But yet, you go and buy more cake.
Talking about cake, I make my own cake and biscuits and to stop me scoffing the whole cake, I make it really simple. I cut it up and freeze it. Then I have a daily treat – at 11am; it’s cake and tea time.
I will confess I have two cake overeating saviours – they are called dogs and help me to eat said cake.
But all joking apart, we are very different and how I do things is not how you will and what is important to me, is probably not important to you. So where do we start?
This is my thinking and journaling process.
Do I love myself enough? This is really a roots question. What is at the root of your habit, in other words, why? The thing about this is you may not know or where your habit started. So, for now, just ask the question and notice any resistance. What else do you notice? Where do you feel it in your body?
The when moment. Notice when you do the thing. My mum is great at catastrophising. Her anxiety is triggered easily and she will not settle until she has taken action. Her when moment is the point when she feels that she has no control.
A when moment is usually something emotional, time, environment or person related. So, for example, when John tells me I am [insert your word], I feel useless, and that’s when I need hot chocolate and the whole cake. I get it, it’s very comforting. I broke that habit and now when something triggers me, I go for a walk with my furry ones and clear my head. No food or emotional eating involved. It’s true…
I’m trying to stop. The try word is pretty awful. Yeah, I’ll try. There’s no real commitment, is there? Just remember this – “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back. What I’m asking here is for you to identify the old habit. That’s all, identify it, but do not use the I am trying to stop x. State the facts.
I’d love to. What would you love instead? I’d love to eat just one slice of healthy cake instead. You would? Really? Dig deep and notice what comes up. Where do you feel it?
Swap in, swap out: Choose one small thing to change. Make it easy for yourself. If it’s cake, I’d swap the shop cake which is full of sugar and make a healthy cake. But before you say it’s too hard. Here’s what I do. I have a basic gluten free banana bread recipe and a basic coconut biscuit recipe. All the wet items go in the blender and then all the dry. It then goes in the oven. It’s so easy and mmmmm hot cake with tea is delish.
Small daily actions. Everything in life is better when be done in smaller chunks or slices. I just find that if I do one thing and another one thing, I am soon on track with my new habit.
Be brave. Make a vow and be committed. Do this thing and stretch yourself just a bit further. You are braver than you will ever know.
Get back on the unicorn. Unicorns are magical creatures and unlike horses can fly. They can take you high above the thing you are struggling with so that you can see it from another perspective. So get back on, reflect and review – what do you learn? Carry on with your new learning.
Make it part of your routine until it becomes a habit. It takes some time before a new behaviour becomes a true habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage. Even before the new behaviour becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders.
Make that daily walk part of your after dinner routine, or change from grabbing a snack at the vending machine at work at 10:00 in the morning to packing a healthy snack (make cake).
Reflect often. It’s in the reflection that we learn about ourselves. I’ve learned that I am resilient, bloody-minded, a researcher and I like to see patterns, I like to trace the roots of things, understand my why and then apply that learning to me. I’m an experimenter. What happens if I do this. And I am also a just do it, person. Let’s get this done is something I say to myself often and I do just that.
Celebrate everything. Success or what you perceive as failure. Celebrate it. It’s all in the learning. Write these things in the back of your journal and when you feel yuk, read about your triumphs.
Congratulations! Follow the points. Decide to create the new habit, practise the routine until it’s second nature and you’ll be well on your way to forming a new good habit.
Spending a little bit of time creating routines and habits will make your day run a lot smoother. You might just find yourself less stressed or anxious. Which leaves you more time to have some fun.
Do you need support right now? Let’s chat about coaching or perhaps there is a course or program that tickles your fancy. Either way being supported will help you to create the life you desire and bring you to a place where you can say ‘I am happy to be me.’
Trust belongs in the root chakra (level one of the foundations of you). It’s foundational because without trust how do we build for example our confidence or learn to trust our hearts again.
Trust requires courage.
I remember as a child I believed I could fly. I trusted that this was possible, so I threw myself off the top of the stairs. Luckily my dad who knew better just happened to be standing at the bottom of the stairs caught me. My days of flying in that way were over.
But it never stopped me trying things out, getting hurt, learning from the experience and getting on with life.
There have been many times that my trust has been broken, from the odd gossipy friend, employers who lied (no, course there won’t be any redundancies…), to husbands living double lives. What I learn from these things is that people will break your trust, it’s part of life. But that you have to be willing to risk it happening again, otherwise you will live a fearful life.
Fear turns to stress and turns to anxiety.
That is not to say you need to rush in and get hurt again, because we learn, don’t we? And from the learning we grow stronger in our ability to listen to our intuition and make better conscious choices.
There are so many reasons why we don’t trust ourselves. Trust is about belief, and it is how we act when we either trust ourselves and others or not. It is also tied to confidence. When you do not trust yourself or others, then naturally you become fearful of what you might do or say.
Have you noticed that when someone does something to you that breaks your trust that this becomes difficult to shake off when you find yourself in a similar situation? This can be particularly true of relationships where perhaps your partner has been unfaithful and subsequently, it is difficult to trust them or others not to do this to you again.
What about when it comes to eating, can you trust yourself to not eat the whole packet of biscuits or to just eat one chunk of chocolate? Or perhaps you don’t venture out of your comfort zone because you don’t trust that you can do whatever is required?
If lack of trust in anything is plaguing you, then you could find that some of the joy goes out of life because you become too fearful of committing to something. And then, of course, that old rogue self-sabotage could show up to hold you back even more.
The problem is that this lack of trust is operating at a level that you are not even aware of. The first place, therefore, to address this is becoming aware of your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Do not judge, simply acknowledge that this is what you have been doing. Tracing the roots will help you to understand where and when this first started, and from there, you can decide that you want to learn to trust again.
Self-trust is like anything it needs the practice to get into the muscle. Make a decision that you will commit to trusting again. Have the courage of your convictions. You might affirm that you are always on the right path. Trust that your goals lead you somewhere and that the right way is continually unfolding.
Creating healthy boundaries and learning to say no will ensure that you can protect yourself until such time you want to go beyond your comfort zone. Be vulnerable and give it a go, sometimes you have to let your guard down and trust all will be well. You can practice showing your vulnerability in a safe setting. Talk to a close family member or good friend and be open with them about how you are feeling.
The bottom line is that to trust others, you have to trust yourself first and in your ability to make good choices. Even if someone has hurt you, this is not because you failed or made a mistake, this is down to them and their behaviour. If you can understand their motivations, then this will help you to know why. Of course, the same applies to you, what were your reasons for not trusting? This is where trusting your intuition comes in. Do you listen to your gut feelings or your heart? Listening and trusting your intuition will guide you through life.
Look at all of the things that you do trust and all of the great decisions you did make and do more of these. In this way, you will build your trust muscle. Consider relationships you ended because of broken trust or things you tried and succeeded at. What does that tell you? What else can you look at- career, financial, health or friendships? All of this is a great reminder that you are in tune with yourself.
Forgive and let go, holding onto what happened is not healthy. In my book Root Chakra Journaling there is a wonderful forgiveness process there in roots and letting go. In addition to forgiveness, allow yourself to grieve any losses. You may be mourning the end of a relationship that wasn’t healthy or a life you knew that wasn’t serving you. Grief is the emotion at the heart chakra, and this is where working with your heart on self-love is essential to your healing. Allow yourself to feel these emotions and use your journal to help you to process them. Finally, leave the past behind and set your expectations for a life where you trust, respect and honour yourself.
Affirmation – I trust in my choices and decisions
Think of all the times that trust worked for you – explore why? What do you learn? How can you embrace that again? See the challenge, lesson and gift. When you trust you, then you can trust others or more you will listen to your intuition and take good action based on that.
Start here with intuitive life coaching… Find inner peace and your ‘happy to be me’ factor
Stress and anxiety can strike the best of us at any time and especially so right now. I’m normally pretty chilled and not much phases me. But I have noticed that I am more easily triggered into a bit of extra swearing.
Yesterday I was recording for my latest course, when the furry ones decided that barking (and more barking) was in order. They took me by surprise as I was almost at the end of a lecture and deeply engrossed. I was a tad cross, but soon flipped into laughter, because that is how my girls make me feel. I look at them, just acting in the moment, doing their thing, while being in the present moment. Why should that be such a bad thing? And I can easily remake the video. Can’t I?
The problem comes when the short term stress triggers result in becoming overwhelmed with anxious thoughts. And this is just as easy to do.
I could have easily become someone who fretted endlessly that my course wouldn’t be ready, it wouldn’t be good enough, and many more anxiety-related thoughts, all exacerbated by other external factors beyond my control.
I choose to laugh at life, but sometimes I need something more. Walking the dogs 4 times a day helps. Stopping and focusing on my breath helps. But the thing that really does it for me is writing and journaling.
Life hasn’t always been a bed of
Some stress is natural, but when that overload kicks in and chronic stress become anxiety the toll that it can take on every part of your life is immeasurable.
These days I’m often out for the first doggie walk of the day as the sun comes up which sets up my day. I even walk when I don’t want to. Like yesterday when I overslept (I am suffering from an ear infection and just wanted to sleeeeeeep) but was treated to a wet lick on my nose to tell me to get up. I always feel so much better having ventured out and enjoyed Mother Earth with the furry ones.
But it wasn’t always been this way. I can remember back in the 1990’s when a sales team I was part of felt bullied, pressured and stressed by the management team. I was shocked when during a heart to heart, one of my male colleagues confided he had been crying and not sleeping because of the bullying at work.
In my unhappiness, overwhelm and desire to isolate from this negative energy, I had thought it was only me.
The stress eventually turned into anxiety and led to him becoming very ill. I and several others subsequently left. At other companies, I have witnessed aggression, sexual harassment, bullying and manipulation. Sadly I have watched colleagues who couldn’t take the pressure, resorting to visits to the doctor with stress and other illnesses before resigning, and who can blame them?
Many of us underestimate what the stress and anxiety can do to us individually, and to our wider community until something wakes us up and we realise we have succumbed to its vice-like grip.
And right now I am concerned about the impact of what is happening to all of us. Even the most happy go lucky, like me.
I don’t know where you find yourself? But I would be surprised if you haven’t uttered ‘it’s all too much’ or ‘I can’t take anymore.’
I feel fed up, but also I’m feeling so blessed to live where I do with air to breathe and open space to walk in. Our small village mostly feels like a little piece of heaven.
But all around me, there is the threat with economic uncertainty as small businesses are forced to close. All of which adds to the pressure.
Pressure and stress for some people are positive, they love the challenge, but for others, it can be the beginning of a nightmare.
Having been made redundant twice and had a horribly fractured spine, I know from first-hand experience, that how you handle these and other stressful situations will vary depending on what else is going on in your life, who is there to support and what your financial situation is like, amongst other things.
The first time I was made redundant, I spiralled into the depths of despair, that was until I had managed to write my way through tons of negative thoughts and feelings.
The second time, I was delighted to leave. Our directors had all resigned two months beforehand and the person appointed to the board was not someone I could work with. So when I was awarded the brown envelope of redundancy I was relieved.
In the lead up to this, I had also journaled, but in a more positive way. I’d been considering my options for a lot longer and was better prepared.
Much, much later when my spine fractured, my journal supported my healing as I stoically (and bloody mindedly) learned how to heal myself naturally
I have no idea what the cost of stress and anxiety is to individuals, families, business or communities right now. But I imagine the fall out of this virus will be far-reaching for many years to come.
It is likely that the number of prescriptions for anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and anti-insomnia medications will have risen. Again I have no idea of what kinds of numbers. And while these have a place, there does have to be a better way or perhaps a different way for some people.
For me, having once taken Prozac at a terrible point in my life, I know that short term they can be helpful. They were amazing, and I had an exit plan, so I knew this was to hold me up, get some peace while I implemented my plan. But I wouldn’t want to take them again. And why would I when I have discovered things that support me in a better way?
So often people don’t know where to find the solutions and resourses to their anxiety. Doctors must be overloaded and they are certainly be feeling the pressure too. The question is how do you find and maintain your inner peace in such uncertain times?
The biggest thing that has supported me all of my life is writing in my journal.
As a long term journaler, I get lots of my stuff out each night before I go to bed. I reflect on my writing often and write short stories which cover off a range of conflicts and emotions. Writing might not be for everyone, but there is research which proves its effectiveness and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) amongst other interventions uses writing to focus reflection and enable change.
When my spine fractured in 2018, I was in immense pain. For a few days, I stared at the ceiling drifting in and out of painful sleep. What helped me was first of all writing in a journal. When I say writing it was often screaming through words.
Then deciding to write a blog and book about my healing, so that I could support others. Because I was unable to work this became my work. I spent endless days researching and studying and working out how to heal naturally.
Luckily I had trained as a naturopathic nutritionist. I had been interested in nutrition and healing since my twenties. But none the less I felt like I was taking a medical degree with all of the other things I looked at.
Writing in my journal, I believe saved my life
I know writing works. Cathartic, entertaining, sometimes embarrassing writing has certainly been my saviour.
Try it for yourself, you may be amazed.
You start by buying a journal and simply allowing your words to flow. The power comes when you reflect and discover aha’s.
Some people find it difficult to journal. If that’s you try this 28 day introduction to journaling course. It could be just what you need…
Try this simple routine from my podcast.
My invitation is that you try this for at least 28 days and reflect on how this brings you greater inner peace.
If you want to know more about overcoming anxiety then be sure to check out this seven week course that takes you through stages of awareness and understanding and into a practical set of tools to support you day to day.
Lockdown and what has come to pass has changed me – has it changed you? It has made me reflect me and do a massive declutter. But most importantly it got me thinking about a life of purpose and meaning and I started to think of my dreams and hearts desires.
Did you know that I want to write a novel? Maybe or maybe not. When I was in my last relationship everything felt that it was being destroyed. But the dream never left me.
When I started to design Writing to Heal – Journey Of The Heart I went back to basics. I travelled through my energy centres (chakras) and worked with them to get to the heart of what I wanted. This is why I called it Writing To Heal – Journey Of The Heart.
I deeply connected with this desire to write fiction and I used my own process to work through my blocks (what more blocks…) and beliefs and there is now a book cover mockup proudly sitting on my vision board.
What I have noticed is that so many people still dream of creating a life of purpose and meaning, where they listen to their hearts and manifest magic but think they can’t for some reason. I get it…
It’s like they are frozen at the crossroads of their life wondering how to jump out of their comfort zone and into the field of possibilities.
They believe it’s too late, that they are too old for that specific dream or they don’t have the skills to reach for what they want.
But the truth is it’s never too late to follow your dreams and claim your hearts desires.
My mum is an amazing example of someone who thought she couldn’t write and who has now written 7 books. She amazes me.
Here are 7 points for you to mull over – let me know what resonates. Grab your journal and explore…
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.Henry David Thoreau
All you need to remember is that you are never too old to go towards your hearts desires and to manifest the magic you deserve and desire. All you have to do is decide what you want and take action to go after it.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.Henry David Thoreau
Join the Journey Of The Heart Waiting list and discover what you want and who you want to become.